11 Best Virtual Reality Movies

By: Антон Гладышев | 03.03.2016, 00:00
11 Best Virtual Reality Movies

At all times man was beckoned to escape from reality and get to the unknown world where he alone decides everything and becomes the "god" of the universe. There, and only there, he can solve any problem - everything is within his power! We've counted 11 virtual reality movies worth watching at least once in a lifetime.

The Matrix (1999)

The Wachowski Brothers' cult sci-fi bestseller created a real furor in the cyberpunk world on the threshold of the twenty-first century. It immerses the viewer in a world of illusion created by intelligent machines to exert control over humans, while the heat and electrical activity emitted by their bodies keeps the machines themselves running. A simple office worker, Thomas Anderson, finds himself drawn into a struggle (not without a red pill of course) against the "masters" of the world, thanks to his hacking. In the short time he spends in the "matrix", he becomes a badass "crush" of Agents of the Smiths, a program run by the machines in the matrix. In the year of the movie Keanu Reeves became the highest-paid actor, and every kid who saw the movie tried to repeat Neo's stunt, dodging imaginary bullets. You want to watch this movie again and again. And after watching the movie, did you also try to bend the spoon with your mind?

For what it's worth watching: Neo and his teams take down the army of "Smiths" beautifully

Source Code (2011)

"Source Code" is a techno-thriller from director Duncan Jones, whose main character is played by Jake Gyllenhaal, a favorite of women. A guy gets on a train that is destined to explode in a few minutes and turn to dust. When this happens, Colter Stevens finds himself in a kind of capsule, where a woman explains to him through a monitor screen that he's trapped in a special program - the source code. This program allows him to return to the body for only eight minutes of his life. During that time, the guy has to determine where the bomb is and how to defuse it. This will prevent the next terrorist attack. He will have to die again and again in an explosion until he solves the problem...

The structure of the plot strongly resembles Groundhog Day (only that one had 24 hours to solve the problem, while this one has only 8 minutes), in which Murray tries to trick the hated animal and finally wake up in the next day. The movie "Source Code" has received very positive reviews from critics - as much as 92% positive reviews on Tomatometer.

For what it's worth watching: a dynamic and mysterious plot, keeping you in suspense until the end of the film

Avalon (2001)

The creation of Japanese director Mamoru Oshii together with Polish cinematography. The story is centered around a game called Avalon, which many young people start playing in order to escape from drab, grey everyday life of the future. But this is not an ordinary computer game, because dying in it, a person does not turn off the computer and go drink coffee, and dies forever in real life. The main character named Ash found herself in Avalon, that "crushing" enemies right and left, earns a lot of money at the highest level of difficulty in the game. But this is not enough for her; she has heard about the high difficulty level "Special A" and now is trying hard to get there. It's a fantastic action game in a purely Japanese style, only without the flying swords and knives.

Worth Watching For: for the sake of the entire Japanese and Polish population, who consider this film a masterpiece of world cinema (though perhaps it is).

Virtuosity (1995)

A collaboration between such two great actors as Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington. The film is about a gifted programmer who developed the program Sid 6.7 It collects the behavioral factors of 183 people - serial killers, maniacs, dictators and just plain lunatics. With the help of this program in virtual reality police officers learned to catch such criminals. However, the program failed to live up to the public's expectations, as one test subject died after the program, while another was seriously injured. In order to avoid the closure of the project, Sid 6.7 suggests its creator to download the program data into a droid (Russell Crowe). The programmer had no idea what the release of 183 lunatics in one person would entail.

Director Brett Leonard's really great work brought the film a lot of popularity in '95, and it still remains on the list of the most popular virtual reality films. The list of explored personalities for the film includes such famous figures as Hitler, Genghis Khan, Fidel Castro, Al Capone, Stalin, Himmler and even everyone's favorite grandfather Lenin. The full list of "inspirations" of Sid 6.7 can be read by the well-known " Pedia".

For what it's worth watching: masterful attempt by the worst villain to escape into the human world.

The Lawnmower (1992)

Another fantastic creation by Brett Leonard, tied to virtual reality. By the way this film was released three years before the previous one and in fact it was a rehearsal for the creation of "Virtuosity". The motion picture narrates about half-witted guy Job who works as a lawn-mower at a church. At the same time developing a drug that artificially increases intelligence. As a result of the experiment the "wised up" monkey escapes from the laboratory and is shot dead by the police. Where to find another test subject? In the field of vision gets Job - he certainly is not a monkey, but the intelligence is quite close. As a result of the experiment the guy becomes not just intelligent, he overpowers computers and even gets into people's minds - here is a true statement "from dirt to riches". Gob has completely migrated into virtual reality, and now all the powers of programmers are aimed at fighting against him. Although the movie has some pretty primitive virtuality graphics, we should not forget that this was in '92, and many of us have not even heard of the word "computer". The box office receipts of the film exceeded its budget three times.

Worth Watching For: The first serious attempts to move human consciousness into the world of virtual reality.

The Gamer (2009)

Who's playing you? - That's the tagline of a movie that tells of a utopian future where slavery and life imprisonment are replaced by participation in a deadly game of Assassins. Every week, hundreds of life-sentenced criminals fight a battle, but they are controlled not by themselves, but by other people online. After thirty victories a character is set free, but no one has ever managed to get out of the game. The protagonist of the movie is a prisoner by the name of John Tillman, but in the game he is just Cable. He is managed by the teenager, and he is rather successful, as he has already managed to survive over twenty fights. Will he be able to survive and get the freedom? The creators of the game will do everything possible to prevent this. Despite the excellent graphics and good acting, this movie got only 28% of positive reviews from critics on Tomatometer.

For What It's Worth Watching: Gerard Butler's great action sequences and acting.

Congress (2013)

An Israeli-French film from directors Ari Folman and Yoni Goodman. An unusual film that takes the viewer from the real world to the world of animation. This film is an adaptation of Stanislav Lem's "Futurology Congress". It consists of two parts: the first is about a girl who signs a contract with a film studio to create her holographic image, which can then be used in films without the girl's participation. The second part will tell about the near future, when the man is in two states simultaneously: physical and animation (if I may say so). The main character in the animated world will be looking for her son suffering from Usher syndrome. In the film the action will constantly switch from the usual world to the animated one and the characters will be balancing on the edge of reality and hallucinations, so it's worth to be very careful while watching it not to miss any detail. The collaboration between Europe and the Middle East has brought the film positive reviews from critics, and they have not thrown as much "rotten tomatoes" film as the previous "Gamer".

Worth Watching For: unusual storyline and everyone's favorite "animation"

The Zero Theorem (2013)

The creation of British animator and film director Terry Gilliam takes us to the abode of a genius scientist named Cohen Leth. He's a bit of an oddball, as he spends almost his entire life in a dilapidated temple waiting for a call from God to tell Cohen about his purpose in this life. The management of the company he works for assigns him the hardest task of solving the Zero Theorem. Cohen takes up the work, though he has no idea yet, that the aim of the theorem is to prove, that God doesn't really exist. And so he works on proving the absence of God in the universe in anticipation of divine providence. When the guy reaches a dead end, a stripper is sent to help him and gives him a virtual reality suit. Once in the virtual reality world, Cohen begins to get answers to his questions. "The Zero Theorem" is a mix of sci-fi and comedy of contradictions, where the protagonist is torn between his own beliefs and what he has to prove while researching the theorem.

What it's worth watching for: to find out the solution to a question of universal proportions and to watch the superb acting of Christopher Waltz and Melanie Thierry.

The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

A magnificent film in the cyberpunk genre is the work of director Josef Rusnák. It tells the story of a virtual attraction created by the genius Professor Hanon Fuller. This attraction is a virtual model of 1937 Los Angeles (the city of the attraction's creator's childhood), where people live and work (they are completely unaware that they are not real, but are computer models). Anyone, for a fee, can "visit" the city, in the body of one of its inhabitants. During the connection to the city, the consciousness of the "visitor" moves into the body of a sleeping resident of the city. The consciousness of the unsuspecting citizen of the city moves back into his body when he returns from virtuality. So would have entertained and rich participants of the project until one unfortunate moment, there is no murder of the creator of the project Hanon Fuller. Over time, the main character Douglass Hall (who, by the way, is suspected of Fuller's murder) learns that his world is also a computer model, of which there are thousands. It is essentially a world within a world (like a matryoshka doll) from which one must somehow find a way out to reality, which is what the protagonist must do.
In 2000, this motion picture was nominated for "Saturn" award as the best science-fiction motion picture. The plot of the film repeated the plot of "The World on a Wire" shot by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1973 (but the graphics in "The Thirteenth Floor" is of course times better).

For what it's worth watching: to see how the virtual "matryoshka" is disassembled, and to understand why this film was the best sci-fi creation on the cusp of the Millennium.

Tron: Legacy (2010)

The sci-fi film Tron: Legacy is a sequel to the first part released in 1982. This film, unlike its predecessors, was originally shot in 3D and was released in such formats as Disney Digital 3D, Real D 3D and IMAX 3D. The protagonist of the film is Sam Flynn, who investigates the disappearance of his father. He finds a Tron computer that digitizes his image and throws the guy into a cyber universe. In this cyberuniverse, the guy tries to find his father (the creator of "Tron"). Over the course of his journey, he'll be captured, sent into gladiatorial fights, compete with CLU (a copycat personality utility) in lightcycle races (Valentino Rossi rests), and undergo many more tests of endurance. The film is not without romance, with an appearance of a girl named Quorra, who first rescues Sam and then Sam rescues her (all in accordance with the law of the genre).
Thanks to the excellent work of Digital Domain, the visual effects company, the film was shot in less than a year. However, it wasn't released in 2009, but a year later in 2010, as the scheduled release date (December 17, 2009) was cancelled due to the Avatar movie, which was released the same month. According to the creators of "Tron", the two pictures would compete at the box office, and to share the income of course no one wants:). "Tron: Legacy" on a budget of $170 million grossed $400 million at the worldwide box office. By the way, Cameron's "Avatar" grossed $2.7 billion, which is almost seven times the box office receipts of the second part of Tron.

Interestingly, Bruce Boxleitner and Jeff Bridges starred in both the first and second installments of Tron. To show a thirty year old memory in the "Legacy" part, Jeff's image was digitized and rejuvenated by as much as thirty years using computer graphics.

What it's worth watching for: Tron's gorgeous virtual world and unforgettable lightcycle racing!

Existence (1999)

David Cronenberg's sci-fi thriller brought great actors like Jude Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh together on the same stage. Jennifer's character named Allegra Geller creates a virtual reality console called Existence. You can get into the game only by connecting through a special bio-connector (POD) in the lumbar region. There you implant something like a flash drive (similar to how a sensor in The Matrix penetrated the human body to track it, only there it was done through the navel), which immerses the person in virtual reality. During the presentation of Existence, the creator of the console is attacked by an assassin with an organic weapon (resembling the root of some tree), an undetectable metal detector, damaging Geller's development. She has to flee, along the way getting her bodyguard Ted Pikle hooked on the game's needle. As a result, the pair are caught up in a cycle of unusual adventures, battling virtual and real killers.

The film was made in 1999 and was a co-production of nine movie studios, with the Canadian Television Fund playing the biggest role. Along with the film's release, Christopher Priest published a novel of the same name to accompany Existence.

For what it's worth watching: for the "organic" virtual world and the shooting "spine" (well, the weapons are really unusual).

Nirvana (1997)

Immortal Highlander and aka Lord Rayden of Mortal Combat has the honor of starring in the cyberpunk Nirvana. Christopher Lambert plays a guy named Jimmy, who is the creator of the game Nirvana. At a certain point, the game gets a virus that gives the game's protagonist Solo (not to be confused with Han Solo) intelligence and memory. When Solo realizes that he is just a computer hero who is controlled by humans and constantly being killed in the game, he asks his creator Jimmy to delete the game along with him. It's not a problem to erase the game from his own computer, it's much harder to delete it from the servers of the company Jimmy works for. These servers are guarded by Devils (computer security programs), bypassing which through a virtual reality can only Angel. Thanks to his friends, the "former Highlander" himself becomes an Angel and infiltrates the network of the Okosama Starr Corporation.

"Nirvana" is an Italian-French creation with a somewhat religious bias, set in cyberspace. Here the viewer will see a bit of Indian culture with its beliefs and traditions (Jimmy himself follows karma yoga), as well as beautiful landscapes of Marrakech and Bombay City.
At the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 the film was shown along with Luc Besson's The Fifth Element. A year later the film was awarded Best Film at Fantasporto and the International Fantasy Film Award.

Worth seeing: A wonderful blend of Eastern culture, post-hippie philosophies and cyberpunk, created by the genius of the Italian mind!

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